Amaravati, Feb 17 (IANS) The third phase of four-phased Panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh kicked off on Wednesday with voting commencing at 6.30 a.m. in 18 revenue divisions.
The revenue divisions in which polls are being held are Srikakulam, Palakonda, Vizianagaram, Paderu, Rampachodavaram, Yetapaka, Jangareddygudem, Kukunuru, Machilipatnam, Gurazala, Kandukur, Gudur, Naidupeta, Adoni, Kurnool, Ananthapur, Rajampet, Kadapa and Madanapalle.
As many as 2,639 sarpanch posts are being contested, along with 19,553 wards.
In Kurnool district, elections started off on a peaceful note and district collector Veerapandian reiterated that people should exercise their franchise fearlessly.
He adviced people to call control room number 1800-4255180 in case any forces are trying to influence the elections.
Similar to the second phase polls, district officials made arrangements to complete vote counting faster in major panchayats.
Starting 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, senior officials have been monitoring the election arrangements and polls in the control room set up at the Collectorate.
As many as 14 mandals, comprising 245 panchayats and 2,516 wards are going to the polls at 2,204 polling centres.
Kurnool district administration deployed 2,557 policemen on poll duty.
As many as 219 villages are going for the polls in the district.
Out of the 2,204 polling stations, the district identified 605 polling stations as troublesome ones and another 374 as hyper sensitive.
Polling and vote counting officials number is 7,250 in the Rayalaseema district.
Zonal officials, shadow teams, striking force teams, route mobile teams, flying squads, drones and web casting are deployed to monitor the elections.
Police Act 30 and CrPc Section 144 have been imposed in the district, including banning victory rallies, pyrotechnics and other musical celebrations.
“Non-locals, newcomers and people not related to the polls are banned from the villages where polls are occurring,” reiterated an official statement.
In Anantapur district, elections are happening in 19 mandalams. Out of 379 panchayats, 23 sarpanches have been elected unanimously, while 936 contestants are competing for the remaining 356 sarpanch posts.
In similar fashion, 1,076 wards have gone for unanimous polls, even as polling began for the remaining wards in which 2,620 candidates are contesting.
By 10:30 a.m. Anantapur district witnessed a polling percentage of 48.15 per cent.